Author

Deborah Cruz

Disclosure: This is a compensated partnership with Torani but all opinions and this iced Café Bombón recipe are my own.

Coffee is my jam. It’s something I’ve been drinking all of my adult life, and if we’re being quite honest, something I’ve been sipping from my parent’s coffee mugs since I was a child. There is something special about the creamy goodness of a good cup of coffee that reminds me of home. Nothing reminds me more of home than Café Bombón.

I remember my dad and uncles drinking Café Bombón at night after dinner at the dining room table while having late-night conversations filled with laughter and reminiscing. I have fond memories of my mom and aunts playing gin rummy and Yahtzee while sipping on Café Bombón and all of this makes my heart happy. Every time I take a drink of Café Bombón those memories are what flood my mind and fill my soul.

What is Café Bombón, you ask? It is literally, candy coffee.

What makes it different from your typical cup of coffee? That would be the sweetened condensed milk. What makes it extra delicious? That would be the Torani salted caramel syrup that I add to mine.

To be honest, I thought “Café Bombón” was how everyone drank coffee because it was the only way I ever saw it drank. The same way I thought everyone made their grilled cheese sandwiches sprinkled with a little sugar on the cheese (made with love as my mom used to tell us). Yep, apparently, my Latino dad and my southern mom made up their own rules along the way.

Typically, Café Bombón is made by simply using 1 ounce of espresso and 1 ounce of sweetened condensed milk. Simple. You can sip it or shoot it, depending on your caffeine needs that day. As I’ve gotten older, I need a little more caffeine to start my day so the 1 to 1 ratio needs to be upped for me in the morning and I like to put mine over ice in the warmer months for drinking convenience.

Café Bombón Recipe

Ingredients:

2 ounces of Espresso or strong coffee
2 ounces of sweetened condensed milk
2 ounces of Torani salted caramel syrup (if you prefer your Café Bombón less sweet, up the coffee ratio to 3 ounces.)
1 ounce of half and half
½ cup of ice

Instructions:

1. Pour sweetened condensed milk over ice.
2. Pour Torani salted caramel syrup over sweetened condensed milk.
3. Add espresso to top.
4. If you have a milk frother, froth 1 ounce of half and half.
5. Pour frothed milk over espresso.
6. You should see distinct layers of ingredients.
7. Enjoy with family and friends.
**I prefer to mix my Café Bombón all up and blend the flavors more evenly but it tastes delicious either way.

It’s that simple and even more delicious. By adding the Torani salted caramel syrup to the traditional Café Bombón, it completely elevates the flavor profile. The great thing about Torani is that is mixes well to bring out the best in your Café Bombón without overpowering everything else. Torani is made with real, simple ingredients that you can recognize.

To make this delicious and easy Café Bombón recipe find Torani at your local Kroger grocery store or online at Torani.com.

What is your favorite Torani flavored syrup for your coffee?

0 comment
0 FacebookTwitterPinterestLinkedinStumbleuponEmail
It, the losers club, T Chapter Two, Pennywise, Bill Skarsgard, horror movie, review

We’ve waited for 2 years for IT Chapter Two the movie. Stephen King’s IT has always had a special place in my heart. IT was one of the first horror novels that I read as a young adult, back when I was my daughter’s age. It was also one of the first horror movies that I watched and from there, my love for horror movies grew. Anyone who knows me knows that horror is, by far, my favorite genre.

IT Chapter 1 was the first horror movie that I was able to watch with both of my daughters. I watched as they were enthralled and fell in love with the horror genre as much as I am. This was a new phase in motherhood. Finally, I could share my love of fall, Halloween and horror movies with my daughters. I imagined long weekends cuddled up on the sectional together being scared and excitedly dissecting plots and antagonists.

READ ALSO: Best Horror Movies to Watch with your Teens

Today, we went and saw our first supernatural horror film together as a family. Talk about going big or going home. IT Chapter 2 has a run-time of 167 minutes and an all-star cast. The film is directed by Andy Muschietti and written by Gary Dauberman. Set in 2016, 27 years after the events depicted in the first film, it stars Jessica Chastain, James McAvoy, Bill Hader, Isaiah Mustafa, Jay Ryan, James Ransone, and Andy Bean as the adult versions of the Losers’ Club. Jaeden Martell, Sophia Lillis, Finn Wolfhard, Chosen Jacobs, Jeremy Ray Taylor, Jack Dylan Grazer, and Wyatt Oleff reprise their roles as the younger Losers, while Bill Skarsgård also returns as Pennywise the Dancing Clown.

It, the losers club, T Chapter Two, Pennywise, Bill Skarsgard, horror movie, review

IT Chapter Two brings the Losers Club back in full force.

Defeated by members of the Losers’ Club, the evil clown Pennywise returns 27 years later to terrorize the town of Derry, Maine, once again. Now, adults, childhood friends have long since gone their separate ways. But when people start disappearing, Mike Hanlon calls the others home for one final stand. Damaged by scars from the past, the united Losers must conquer their deepest fears to destroy the shape-shifting Pennywise — now more powerful than ever.

READ ALSO: Parents Guide to Teen Slang

IT Chapter Two had some stellar acting (particularly Hader and Skarsgård) especially the kids. The themes and faithfulness to the novel were definitely on point. Though the runtime seemed excessive and I would not consider it a horror film. It was a great film to see with my tween and teen in the theater. No one ended up in my bed that night with nightmares but if you are looking for a fright, IT Chapter two is going to leave you wanting.

Don’t get me wrong. IT is very entertaining and, in my opinion, a much better version of the original film. However, aside from a couple of jump scares from Skarsgård’s character, Pennywise, I wasn’t scared at all. But if you pay attention, it is a thriller/mystery and not listed as a horror film. If you go into it knowing that, you will enjoy the film a lot more.

It, the losers club, T Chapter Two, Pennywise, Bill Skarsgard, horror movie, review

IT Chapter Two is ambitious and thought-provoking.

It is an intellectual thriller. It tackles some deeper themes like childhood trauma, loss of innocence and memory loss. In the last film, the Losers club (stuttering leader Bill (Jaeden Martell), wisecracking Richie (Finn Wolfhard), hypochondriac Eddie (Jack Dylan Grazer), rebellious Beverly (Sophia Lillis), history buff Mike (Chosen Jacobs), intellectual Stanley (Wyatt Oleff) and gentle-hearted new kid Ben (Jeremy Ray Taylor) ) defeated child-murdering Pennywise and took a blood oath to return to Derry, Maine, if he ever came back.

Set in 2016, 27 years after the original film takes place, everyone has grown up and moved away all but forgotten about what happened to them as children in Derry and the horrors that the suffered at the hand of Pennywise the clown. Bill (James McAvoy) is a successful horror writer, Stan (Andy Bean) an accountant, Richie (Bill Hader) a popular stand-up comedian. Only Mike (Isaiah Mustafa) stayed in town, and he alone remembers everything that happened when they were kids.

READ ALSO: Why You Should Binge Stranger Things

Derry kids start going missing again and creepy messages like “Come home” appear. Mike calls the Losers home to stay true to their blood oath. The reunion at the Chinese restaurant is one of the movie’s best scenes, as they quickly fall back into their old friendships.

It, the losers club, T Chapter Two, Pennywise, Bill Skarsgard, horror movie, review

The group must discover the origins of the dark force cursing Derry. Each one has to do his or her part to find their token that will lead to the final face-off with Pennywise.

Pennywise sparingly makes appearances in the movie. Skarsgard makes each moment count. His Pennywise is sinister yet comical with a heavy tinge of human. But there’s a lot of real monsters in this world from a hate crime early on to instances of domestic abuse. Thankfully, Hader’s Richie adds some levity to this film noir.

IT Chapter Two is Not What You Expected

In the end, IT Chapter Two is a film about friendship and love. Faith in your friends and sticking up for one another, having each other’s backs and standing up for what’s right is what matters most whether you’re a kid or an adult. We all need those people who know us and love us even when life makes us our most unlovable.

It, the losers club, T Chapter Two, Pennywise, Bill Skarsgard, horror movie, review

As a thriller and mystery, I’d give It Chapter Two a 4.5 out of 5 stars and it’s the perfect scary-ish film to see with your teen if they are able to handle some of the mature themes like domestic abuse, gay-bashing and inferred sexual abuse. My girls already know about these things and know the real world is scarier than any horror movie. If your kid likes shows like Stranger Things and isn’t terrified of clowns, they should be fine to watch IT Chapter Two.

Will you be seeing IT Chapter Two? If you’ve already seen IT what are your thoughts?

0 comment
0 FacebookTwitterPinterestLinkedinStumbleuponEmail
jetson electric scooter

Back to school is upon us and the Jetson Quest Electric Scooter is here to take you for ride. Want to give your student an easy way to get to and around high school or their college campus? Look no further.

 

Disclosure: I’ve been compensated in the form of a Best Buy Gift Card and/or received the product/service at a reduced price or for free but all opinions are my own.

I don’t know about you but the only thing worse than back-to-school shopping is BTS pick-up and drop off traffic. It’s frustrating and, let’s be honest, not great for the environment or your sanity. It’s not even great for your health so why not do something that gets you out into the fresh air?

 

Beat the traffic with this Jetson Quest Electric Scooter. The 250W hub motor lets you travel up to 18 miles at 15mph, while the bright LED headlight and deck lights support nighttime travel. Use the easy-fold system to conveniently stow away this Jetson Quest electric scooter in your car’s trunk or underneath a desk.  It’s perfect for getting around your neighborhood, to school or any college campus.

 

The no flat, solid tires are engineered to absorb shock along with a concealed premium lithium-ion battery that offers a smooth 18-mile range. The Quest can reach an exhilarating top speed of 15 mph with its powerful 250W hub motor. It’s equipped with an ultra-bright LED headlight and taillight, improving visibility and safety for when you’re riding on roads and sidewalks at night.

 

We live in a large community subdivision and there are parks, clubhouses, pools, golf and even schools right within our vast neighborhood. Bikes are great and we have lots of walking paths. I should know, I use them every morning for my daily workout, as many of you know from my daily Insta Stories. But, sometimes you need to get around quicker or you just don’t feel like walking and this is when the Jetson Quest Electric Scooter comes in handy.

Shop this and more electric scooters plus electric bikes and boards at Best Buy.

Make sure that you ride responsibly if you do ride an electric scooter. The purchaser and rider of this product are responsible for knowing and obeying all state and local regulations regarding the use of this product. It is highly encouraged that you read and follow the product instructions including all safety precautions and use protective gear. Protective gear can be found at http://www.bestbuy.com/protectivegear.

 

Have you ever ridden an electric scooter around the neighborhood? Campus? Maybe on vacation in a foreign city? What was your favorite thing about it?

0 comment
0 FacebookTwitterPinterestLinkedinStumbleuponEmail
Back-to-school, first day of school, kids growing up, letting go

How did back-to-school come so fast? One day the kids were getting out for the summer and the next day, it was time to go back. Summer was not long enough. The older my girls get the faster the summers seem to go and, to be honest, I’m not loving it. I want to slow down time and hold on for just a little longer.

Disclosure: Amazon sent me the Happy School Year kit but all opinions are my own.

This year, my oldest starts high school, my youngest is right smack dab in middle school and I am going back to preschool. Well, I took a part-time job working with the cutest preschoolers ever. I’d almost forgotten how independent, sassy and hilarious 4-year-olds can be. Back-to-school is hitting me in all the feels everywhere this time.

READ ALSO: The first day of High School was Harder than Expected

For us, back-to-school is like New Year’s Eve. It’s a time for resetting and starting over, especially this year with my oldest being a freshman. It was the perfect opportunity to set some New School Year’s resolutions for all of us.

My oldest girl wants to keep up on her homework, get involved in school spirit and support her teams, stay physically active and get ahead on her reading. I love the way she is finding her way and becoming the fierce, ambitious young lady she wants to be. The girls wear uniforms but they are able to express themselves with their accessories, shoes and bags. Here are some of her favorite Amazon back-to-school finds, Be Brave. Be Bold. Be You. Daily Notebook, Fire HD 10 Tablet and Fujimax camera for taking pictures of all of her new friends to hang in her locker.

Back-to-school with Amazon is easy and convenient.

My youngest loves school and is a social butterfly. She is very into tech and is a bit of a VSCO girl. She’s all about being green, eating healthy and saving the world. But being that she is only 12, she is still very into fun, quirky school supplies. Did someone say  Geddes Scented Donut Shoppe Erasers,   Zebra Cadoozles Mechanical Pencils , ZIPIT Twister Pencil Case,  Wickedly Prime Plantain Chips and S’well Stainless Steel Bottle? She really loves that her  MEE KidJamz 3Child Safe Headphones and   AmazonBasics Everyday School Backpack match and she’s made them her own by adding funky pins.

READ ALSO: Back to School Breaking my Heart

As for me, I haven’t been hanging out with the preschooler set in ages so I’m stocking up on Boogie wipes, Zinc lozenges and Babyganics hand sanitizer in bulk. I’ve been a stay-at-home / work-from-home mom for the past 14-years so hanging with these little cuties a few hours every day is definitely going to boost my immune system. I should probably stock up on Vitamin C and vitamins, as well.

Amazon makes it easy to get all of your back-to-school needs met in one convenient location. We have a busy life and back-to-school is an insanely chaotic time of year for us, so convenience and dependability are very important to us. We know that we can count on amazon to get us what we need as soon as possible and that takes the stress out of back-to-school shopping for me.

Did you use Amazon for your back-to-school shopping this year? If not, why not?

1 comment
0 FacebookTwitterPinterestLinkedinStumbleuponEmail
Lara Spencer, Prince George, Ballet, Fabrice Calmels, GMA

Good Morning America’s Lara Spencer went on national television and mocked Prince George for taking ballet classes. She openly burst into laughter at the thought of a little boy dancing ballet and I’m disgusted by her and her way of thinking. It’s outdated and misogynistic.

We live in a world where women and little girls are not treated equally to men and boys. It’s not my opinion, it’s a fact and if you are a woman or a little girl, you know this firsthand. It starts when we are born, in some countries.

In some countries, if you are born with a vagina, you might as well have been born missing a head because they find you useless. And in every single country, if you are born a girl, you are held to a different set of rules and made to feel like a belonging.

It always blows my mind when women don’t support women or worse still, support men who see women as less than. I feel there has to be some self-loathing percolating right beneath the surface. It downright blows my mind (and breaks my heart) when women are not the champions of feminism but a misogynist. I’m not even sure how that works. How do you reconcile yourself to being part of the problem?

Lara Spencer, you are part of the problem.

A grown woman laughing and mocking a little boy for taking ballet is everything that is wrong with the world. Lara Spencer, in my opinion, is as bad as an ignorant misogynistic man who calls little boy’s sissies. I’m not sure exactly what she found so funny that she couldn’t contain her laughter. Be careful Lara Spencer, your ignorance, uncouthness and misogyny are showing.

As a mom of ballerinas, who has spent a whole lot of years in the dance world, Lara Spencer’s outburst into laughter during the Good Morning America’s segment mocking Prince George for dancing ballet was one of the worst displays of ignorance that I’ve ever been witness to. Did I mention she was laughing at a little boy? How insensitive and ignorant can one adult woman be in the span of a minute?

Anyone in the ballet world can attest to the fact that there is a severe shortage of men in the ballet world. There are plenty of beautiful, graceful ballerinas ( who are, by the way, in my opinion, some of the most elite athletes that there are) but finding young boys and men to enter the ballet world is challenging for just this very reason. Boys are afraid of being mocked, bullied and teased for dancing by ignorant bullies not unlike Lara Spencer.

Everyone in the ballet world knows that real men lift women.

Boys who dance ballet are not “sissies”.  It’s not an insult to be talented and dance. Boys who dance ballet are elite athletes who defy gravity. Men who dance are gifted, strong mind and able-bodied individuals who spend their days surrounded by and working side-by-side with ballerinas; dancing and partnering to make beautiful art for the rest of us. What could possibly be wrong with that? What about that is laughable?

Dancers tell stories with only using their bodies. Their bodies are finetuned instruments that take years of training and dedication to achieve. For any child to be brave enough and have the passion and drive to begin that journey at such a young age ( my girls started dancing at 2 and started ballet at 7, dancing by the time they are 10, 5 days a week for hours on end) is impressive. They work so hard for so long and push their bodies and minds as far as they will go. Lara Spencer’s flippant attitude and insensitivity towards the ballet community is a reflection of her ignorance not the dance world.

Several coaches bring their football players in to take ballet classes to learn discipline and control, to finesse their own playing skills. Ballet makes you better in so many ways.

Real men wear tights.

Have you ever heard of Fabrice Calmels? He’s a French ballet dancer at the Joffrey. He’s 6 foot 6 inches. He is the tallest male dancer there is. He is an elite athlete who is at the top of his field. My daughters are tall. When they started to get disappointed because they got too tall to partner, Fabrice was their inspiration. He is a role model for many young dancers; boys and girls.

Photos: @FabriceCalmels Instagram

No matter if you have an appreciation for the ballet or not, you have to have true respect and admiration for the hard work, dedication, drive and talent it takes to dance ballet in a world full of cynics and grown women who laugh at little boys who dance ballet.

What do you think of Laura Spencer’s antics? Do you think an apology is enough? And is it really an apology if you’re only doing it because you’ve been called out by the public for being a jerk? I don’t think so.

0 comment
0 FacebookTwitterPinterestLinkedinStumbleuponEmail
Road trip Essentials when Traveling with Teens, Why Every Family should Go RVing before your Kids Grow Up, Go RVing, family travel, Cape Hatteras, Camp Hatteras, Rodanthe, North Carolina, Outer Banks, Winnebago, WinnebagoLife

Traveling with teens this summer? Making one last road trip for Labor Day? What are your road trip essentials when traveling with teens? I’ve been really laser-focused on the fact that we only have a few more precious summers left with the girls living at home. If we’re being honest, I’d like to just hide them inside the house and keep them all to myself for the next few years but alas, being a mom means raising good human beings that can go out into the world and thrive, do all the good human things. It’s my duty as a mom to help make the world a little less crappy by populating it with awesome little people.

Firstly, don’t be afraid to travel with your teens. Traveling with teens on road trips is a lot less painful than you might imagine and certainly less suicide-thought inducing as traveling with toddlers in Christmas traffic. Holy shit, I’ll never do that again. Well, maybe one of these days with grandkids but the same rules don’t apply when you didn’t birth them yourself, right?

READ ALSO: The TRUTH about Parenting Teenagers

My point is that teenagers are pretty awesome. They’re funny, full of personality and they can pump gas and go buy snacks. I’ve grown to love long road trips, especially in an RV, because being trapped in the car with your husband and kids for 18 hours really does say I love you. But more importantly than that, spending that kind of time traveling to new places, talking to fill the space and being in such close proximity to one another really is a recipe for making memories, inside jokes and bonding.

road trip essentials when traveling with teens, Why Every Family should Go RVing before your Kids Grow Up, Go RVing, family travel, Cape Hatteras, Camp Hatteras, Rodanthe, North Carolina, Outer Banks, Winnebago, WinnebagoLife

You may find yourself exhausted and tired of being trapped in a car or traffic or even a little frustrated while it’s happening but you will always make the most beautiful, subtle and nostalgic memories that you could ever imagine. Trust me. You want to do this before they go off to college.

Road Trip Essentials when Traveling with Teens

A Clean Car

Make sure the car is clean, free from clutter and the heat/ air is charged and working. Don’t find this shit out the wrong way.

Carpool Karaoke Mic

We received the Carpool karaoke mic for review purposes and it has been so much fun. My girls love to sing in the car, so do the Big Guy and I so this was the perfect addition to our road trip essentials.

Apple Music

We could not survive a road trip without all of our favorite music and playlists. No matter the genre or your mood, you can always find what you’re looking for to serenade you in the soundtrack to your life.

Hand Sanitizer

This is a no-brainer. Messes happen. Germs happen. Things get sticky when you’re eating and driving or karaoking in the back seat. No one wants to eat chips with gas pumping hands. Be safe, bring the sanitizer.

All the Snacks

We usually hit up the local supermarket or Walmart and get a good assortment of fresh fruit and already washed and cut veggies to snack on in the car. But a few other favorites are coconut and chocolate Lar Bars, wasabi and Himalayan sea salt dark chocolate almonds, Bubly preferably in Blackberry, San Pellegrino, toasted coconut Oikos and Cheese sticks to name a few.

Bluetooth headphones for everyone

Sometimes you, they, he just wants to tune out the other people in the car and listen to some tunes they want to listen to. You can only listen to Baby Shark and laugh as a family so many times before someone goes bat shit crazy and drives the car into a guard rail.

Entertainment

An Ipad for Streaming movies on Hulu, Netflix, prime and watching Youtube is a necessity. But if your teen is extra to the extreme, bring along all the Tarte makeup and be entertained while they film their own make-up tutorials or Tik Tok themselves silly. Truly, it’s entertaining for the entire family. Don’t knock it until you’ve tried it.

Electronic chargers, Sneaker boxes

There is nothing so somber and woeful as a teen without charged electronic devices. They are great until you cut them off cold turkey from their electronics. For my girls, it’s not even being on the devices so much as it is having the security of the option to do so.

Pillows and fuzzy blankets

We all need and like to be comfortable when on a long road trip. For all the time spent bonding, we are, for all intent and purposes, in very close proximity to one another and sometimes you just need your space so the least you can do is be comfortable as to alieve any unnecessary aggravation and a nap and rest seems to do the job on many levels.

Money

Carry some cash and make sure that you’ve got a card “for emergencies”. Nothing ruins a road trip faster than being broke.

Games that prompt conversation Get to know your kids on the road

We have several games like would you rather, have you ever, conversation starters that really let you get to know your children and vice versa.

READ ALSO: Growing up too fast

We really do have so few summers with our children. When they are little days and hours seem to go on forever. We linger there wishing it to go faster and then before we know it, hours fade into days and time speeds up so fast that just as we are beginning to really know and like our children, they leave us. Make the moments count. They won’t all be winners and every moment won’t be special but together really is better than apart.

What’s at the top of your list of road trip essentials when traveling with teens?

0 comment
0 FacebookTwitterPinterestLinkedinStumbleuponEmail
first day of high school, high school, back to school. teenagers

Nothing could have prepared me for my daughter’s first day of high school. I expected there to change. Even expected there to be stress and nervous energy. Definitely, did not expect the first day of high school to be harder than the first day of kindergarten. It was so much worse.

I not the mom who cried in the kindergarten corridor, my girls are stoic. They’re independent and they suck it up. They get that from their daddy. I’m highly emotional. I do suck it up but I always give myself permission to feel my feelings.

READ ALSO: Kindergarten, the beginning of the end

All summer Bella’s joked that she wants to be homeschooled. She’s wanted to be homeschool since about 2nd grade. Due to demanding dance schedules, Bella’s ballet friends are homeschooled. I never put much weight in it because I work from home. I’ve taught and had classroom time. But teaching your own child is something different entirely so my answer has always been a firm no.

But this summer, she wouldn’t drop it. I assumed she was getting nervous for the change to high school. After all, she’s been at the same school since 1st grade. But on that first morning, she was overcome with fear and begged me to not make her go.

READ ALSO: The Different Kinds of Moms You Meet on the First Day of School

Do you have any idea how hard that was for me? I’m very close to my girls. We’re a small family, just the 4 of us and they really are my best friends ( I know it’s not cool to say that but in our case, it is true). I don’t say no very often to things they really want. Things yes but not asks of me as a mom. This morning, I had to stand strong and push my baby bird out of the nest, for her own good.

As moms, I think most of us would love to just keep our little ones snuggled up near us forever but that’s not what’s best for them. How can I expect her to be a functioning good human being when I let her shy away from everything that scares her?

The entire car ride to school, she was silently holding back tears. I saw it. I didn’t acknowledge it because, just like when they are toddlers and you make a deal about a booboo, that’s the moment the histrionics begin. I was trying to be stoic because, confession, I am totally the mom who kisses all the booboos and makes a big deal. But I needed to be strong for her.

READ ALSO: Slipping through my Fingers

About a block from the school, we were stopped in traffic and she could see the cars lining up to make the street cross at the yield sign. She could see all the other freshman and realized that she knew none of them. I heard the whimpering as she stifled her cries. My heart broke into a zillion pieces. Be strong, Debi. You can do this. Do it for Bella She needs you. This is not about you. Do NOT fall apart woman. Not turning the car went against all of my mommy instincts.

There we were in the car at drop off on her first official morning of high school. This day was just for incoming freshman. I love that. The student ambassadors were standing outside lining the drop off lanes, holding banners welcoming the new students. Cheerleaders were cheering. Teachers were standing at attention with full-faced smiles. Even the school mascot was standing outside giving out free hugs. I felt comfortable dropping her off in this situation.

I turned to the passenger seat and there say my baby, my firstborn, sobbing from fear of the unknown and no amount of reassurance was going to fix this but neither was letting her not face it. It was now. This was her moment. It was also a really hard parenting moment because I confess, all I wanted to do was grab her in my arms, peel outta there and take her home with me and make it all better. Instead, holding back tears behind my giant Gucci sunglasses, I grabbed her hand, told her that I loved her, kissed her cheek and told her to have the best day. ” I’ll see you soon.”

first day of high school, high school, back to school. teenagers

Looking back at me with her cheetah spotted face, through blubbering from sheer panic and fear, she said, “I hate you, mom.” I knew she didn’t mean it. I knew that was her way of letting me know how very hard this moment was for her. This was her being scared and clinging to anything that would get me to stop the trajectory of our morning. She wanted off. She wanted out. She was terrified and I was the only thing that stood between her and the comfort of how things were.

I cried all the way home. I felt like the worst mom in the history of the world. I felt like I had abandoned her at the moment she needed me most. But I know that I did the right thing because it was one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to do. I had to walk away when my daughter metaphorically had her hands outstretched to me, begging me to rescue her. Instead, I gently pushed her out of the nest. I’m not sure how I’m going to survive when she goes away to college.

READ ALSO:  Only 9 more Summers

That’s the thing about being a parent, we have to love them so much that we do what’s best for them, even when it breaks our hearts. We have to let them go, even when all we want to do is hold them tight. We have to love them so hard that they see themselves the way we do. We lift them up, give them courage and self-confidence when they are at their most vulnerable. We watch from the sidelines, with no glory or fanfare, being their biggest cheerleaders for all of their lives. We love them enough to convince them to see that they are as wonderful as we’ve always known they were…since that moment they were first placed upon our chest the moment they were born.

What was your child’s first day of school like this year?

1 comment
0 FacebookTwitterPinterestLinkedinStumbleuponEmail
How to Plus up Your Walt Disney World Vacation for Free, Walt Disney World Vacation, Disney Trip

Heading to Disney and really want to get the most bang for your buck? I love Walt Disney World; it’s one of our favorite places to visit as a family. The thing we love most is that no two trips are ever the same. There are always new things to see and do and new adventures to be had. Unfortunately, everything “experience” you add, makes the price go up.  If only there was a way to plus up your Walt Disney World vacation for free.

Lots of families save and plan for a Walt Disney World vacation, sometimes for years so just adding experiences can change the price point quite a bit. When you consider that an average 7 day/6 night stay at a deluxe resort with park hopper tickets can cost $5000 and up, every single bit more that you add adds up. But what if you could plus up your Disney trip for free.

READ ALSO: What is Disney Creator Days and How to Get Invited

Here are some ways to plus up your Walt Disney World vacation for free.

Get celebration buttons

If you’re at Disney celebrating an event (birthday, engagement, honeymoon, anniversary, first time, etc.) simply ask the Disney cast members situated near the front of the park with a cart with all the celebrations buttons. Put that baby on and let everyone at Disney celebrate with you. When we go in September, we’ll be celebrating our 20th wedding anniversary, our 22nd dating anniversary and my birthday. I won’t say which one, let’s just say that I’m turning 30 again.

Become part of the show

There are several shows taking place all over Disney that you can volunteer to be a part of. Nothing makes you feel more magical than being an honorary Disney cast member for a day. It also makes for some great memories and photo ops.

Tell all the cast members that you’re celebrating when you book

When you book dining reservations or resort stays, let the cast members know that you are celebrating. They may just sprinkle you with a little extra pixie dust. It’s not required but you never know.

Use My Disney Experience app

If you really want to maximize your Disney vacation, you must use the My Disney Experience. It makes the whole trip so much more streamlined. All of your reservations and fast passes can be made on there. It updates all day long and you can see wait times, openings, get directions and even mobile order your food. It makes the entire experience so much more enjoyable and less chaotic.

Book fast passes 60 days in advance

There are a lot of great rides at Disney World and you’ll want to ride them all, some more than once. If you are staying on Disney grounds you can book your fast passes 60 days in advance and I encourage it so that you get all of your first choice rides and don’t have to wait for 180 minutes in line.

Make food reservations 180 days in advance

If you want to eat at some of the more popular restaurants like Be Our Guest, Sci-Fi Drive-in, Character dining, Le Cellier, Monsieur Paul and Takumi-Tei you should definitely take advantage of the 180-day reservation open date for those staying on property to make sure that you get those reservations.

Magic Hours

Another reason to stay on property, aside from the free transportation, early reservations and that amazing customer service and full immersion into all things Disney, you get magic hours. For example, while the rest of the world is waiting until 9 am to get into Galaxy’s Edge, Disney resort guests will be able to get into the park at 6 a.m. If you are not familiar with Magic Hours, they are extra hours the parks are open to resort guest either before or after normal park hours. It’s awesome and cuts wait times by quite a bit of time.

When you arrive at the resort, ask for free upgrades available

When you arrive at your resort, you can ask the cast member who checks you in if there are any upgrades available. That could mean a better view or even an upgraded room. It never hurts to ask. The worst they can do is say no and then you are exactly where you started…still at the happiest place on earth.


Do free resort activities

Yes, most resorts offer cool free activities for their guests. For example, there is a hidden Mickey hunt at the Fort Wilderness lodge. Restaurant tours are available at the Animal Kingdom every day from 4-4:15. Also, you can see animals for free at the Animal Kingdom. Just ask the front desk cast members and they will tell you what is offered. Most resorts offer movies by the pool and some even have campfires and s’ mores at night.

Ask for good tables at restaurants

Did you know that you can ask for good tables at restaurants when you arrive? Why not ask for a firework view and enjoy the firework display from the comfort of a seat rather than fighting with everyone else for concrete space. I love the Happily Ever After firework show more than I can express with words, it gets me in the feels, but waiting for 2 hours to have a good seat can feel like a misuse of my time.

Say Cheese

Did you know that you can ask the Photopass photographer to take your picture with your own camera? You can and they gladly will. Though, if we’re being honest, I love Memory Maker because then I’m in every picture and I can stop at every single photographer guilt-free.

READ ALSO: Best Walt Disney World Resorts for Families

These are just a few of the many ways to plus up your Walt Disney World Vacation for free. What’s your favorite tip to plus up your Walt Disney vacation for free?

0 comment
0 FacebookTwitterPinterestLinkedinStumbleuponEmail
The Inconvenient Truth about Patrick Crusius, Guns and Racism in America, el Paso, Texas, gun control, mass shootings

I went to church this morning and I prayed for all of us. After the mass shootings in El Paso, Texas by Patrick Crusius that left 20 murdered in cold blood and dozens injured, I was feeling hopeless and then intense anger. A wave of anger that I haven’t felt since Sandyhook. It’s rage. If you’re indifferent to this violence or you’re not enraged enough to be motivated to act, why? Help me to understand your silence. Why are guns and racism still plaguing our nation? This is the inconvenient truth about Patrick Crusius, guns and racism in America.

At mass, I prayed for the families of all the people murdered this week by mass shooters. Yes, there was one every single day this week. Day after day, I got an alert on my phone and every day, I prayed. I prayed for all of you, to keep you safe. But the time for just praying has passed. We need action to protect our children.

READ ALSO: The Children of Sandyhook

As much as I love my country and my God, he can’t do everything. We’ve got to do our part. This keeps happening because we let it. We value our guns over other people’s lives. We have a million excuses why we should keep our guns, rather than change our behavior and save the lives of innocent people. Change is uncomfortable but isn’t the sacrifice worth it? People are hanging on to their guns like they’re their security blankets. They’re not.

For years, I’ve been clear on my stance on guns. I don’t like them. I hate them. They are dangerous because people are dangerous. People cannot be trusted to behave like responsible adults. They can’t be trusted to respect their fellow humans. People may pull the trigger but bullets from guns are what kill people. Those who allow this to keep happening are culpable. End of story.

READ ALSO: The Collateral Damage of Hate

I grew up with guns. Guns are for hunting and protecting, not killing and maiming the people you don’t like. You’re not allowed to grab your gun, take your sick mind full of hatred and anger and shoot at will. That’s not how this is supposed to work.

The right to bear arms was established at a time when we needed people to take up arms to defend our country against the enemy when we had no regulated or established military. The right to bear arms was not put into law to be used as a scapegoat for every low life lacking self-esteem and hating the world. Every prejudiced person with no friends should not be allowed to amass large quantities of ammunition and guns to shoot innocent people. Yes, innocent people.

READ ALSO: Zero Tolerance for Immigrants is Zero Tolerance for Humanity

Because a person is not like you, does not make them a criminal. Shopping at Walmart is not a criminal act. Attending a music festival should not mean gambling with your life. Going to church should not make you a sitting target and dancing and celebrating at a bar, should not mean that you are relinquishing your right to life. Our military fights abroad to keep us safe and free at home, not so crazed gunman can viciously murder us from within.

The real Inconvenient Truth about Patrick Crusius, Guns and Racism in America

I’ve been clear on my stance for years and I’ve prolifically called for us all to stand up for gun control for our children. I know that guns will never be banned but we need stricter control over who can get those guns, how many they can have at a time, how much ammunition they can buy, how those guns can be modified and where, when and why they can be used. There need to be consequences for breaking those mandates and a psychological evaluation made mandatory for every single person who wants to purchase a gun, of any kind, even a hunting rifle.

I’ve never minced my words but today, I am speechless. I am angry. I am disgusted and prayers are simply not enough. Yes, I too believe that through God all things are possible. I believe in the power of prayer but I also, firmly and absolutely, believe that God helps those who help themselves. We need to help ourselves. We need to take responsibility for our children’s safety by standing up for the right things. I don’t think any parent ever, under any circumstances, would choose a gun over their own child’s life under any conditions.

READ ALSO: Dear America

I am disgusted by all of these acts of domestic terrorism. But last night, when I read Patrick Crusius alleged hate-filled, anti-immigration manifesto, my anger hit a new level. It turned to rage. It spoke of a “Hispanic invasion of Texas.” It detailed a plan to separate America into territories by race. It warned that white people were being replaced by foreigners. Again, maybe this ignorant piece of racist garbage doesn’t know his history but Texas used to belong to Mexico. We were there first.

READ ALSO: What to do when Racism happens to your child

20 people were murdered on a Saturday morning and dozens injured for no other reason than Patrick Crusius was a small-minded, ignorant man, with a hate-filled heart who drove 10 hours to murder Mexicans. And he was able to do it because it’s so easy to get access to guns in the United States. A mother protecting her 2-month old son. Dead. An infant whose parents are left behind to live with the pain of the loss of a child. Dead. 18 more innocent people dead because this monster lives during a time where racism, bigotry and misogyny are not frowned upon but encouraged by our current state of affairs.

Patrick Crusius is only part of the problem. Guns and Racism in America are the disease.

How are we, any of us, but especially people of color supposed to feel safe when the color of our skin, our last names, the religion we follow is enough to make small men not only want to murder us but able to get a gun and do so?

We need good people, those who value all human life, who believe in freedom and equality in our country to stand up against the terrorists within our nation’s borders. Everyone is so focused on keeping the brown people out that you are locking us in with hate-fueled, narrow-minded, homegrown terrorists and giving them guns at will. How are any of us supposed to survive this?

 

0 comment
0 FacebookTwitterPinterestLinkedinStumbleuponEmail

Today was an amazing day. 12 weeks after being diagnosed with diabetes and high blood pressure, I am 30.1 pounds down. I have lost an average of 2.5 pounds a week, every week since May 6th. I was ecstatic when I stepped on the scale and saw the number. Just 19 pounds from being in the 100’s again. Yes! However, for all of my joy and happiness with losing that weight, there was one thing I did not anticipate…my body is changing. Surprise, no one told me how to avoid loose skin when you lose weight fast and so all the changes are not to my liking.

I know, of course if you lose weight, your body will change. I’ve been pregnant before, I know the human body can do all kinds of things you never expected; stretching, giving and returning to (close to) its previous shape. I thought I was doing so well and then I saw the picture I took of myself at the pool the other day.

READ ALSO: Food’s an Addiction, Sugar’s a Drug and I was an Addict

No, I am not going to diminish all the hard work I’ve done. I started out at just nearly 250 on May 6th.  Since then, I’ve been carb counting, walking every day for 60-80 minutes and generally living a healthier and more aware lifestyle. I’m not perfect but with portion control, dedication to eating healthier and being aware of my carb intake, I’ve been moving the scale and bringing all my numbers down to where they are supposed to be.

It’s a choice every single morning to get up and just do it. I’m choosing me and my health. I’ve been full steam ahead, laser-focused on the goal of health. As long as the numbers are going down and the clothes are getting bigger, life is fabulous but I NEVER expected what I saw in that picture. I give you…the thighgina.

weight loss, lose weight fast, loose skin, thighgina, weight loss problems

Loose skin from weight loss = Thighgina

There I was standing proudly in my weight loss, in my bikini because I believe every single body is a bikini body, and there it was just standing there, blending in like a skeevy creeper, my brand spanking new FUPA meets a walrus vagina meets the sagging skin on my shrinking thighs. It was not fabulous or spectacular. When I saw it, I was mortified.

For the past 3 months, all summer, I’ve been walking around daydreaming of the day when I could shop in the regular size section and everything fits and nothing is tight or makes me look like I’m a sausage. That’s not me being mean, that’s me telling it like it is for me at 250 lbs. I was not even thinking about sagging skin or thighginas. But, that thighgina has been thinking about me. Just waiting until I hit that 30-pound mark to poke out his (yes, he’s a dude because a lady would not do that to another lady) sinister little head and say hello, at.the.pool.

READ ALSO: The Burden of Being Fat

But I refuse to let the thighgina win. Nope. Not today, thighgina. I’m going to persevere because where there is a will there is a way and I will rid you from my life. Oh yes, I will. So I’m on the hunt for all the best exercises for toning your inner thighs because thighgina will not stand. No, I am not in pursuit of a thigh gap. Been there, done that. Have the diagnosis to prove it. I firmly believe that thick thighs save lives…and iPhones from the toilet. But, thick thighs are not a thighgina. Folks, a thighgina is not pretty.

If you have any inner thigh exercises that you do to tone and have worked for you, please share them with me. I’m trying to tone all of my body as I go. I’m going the slow and steady route. I still have to lose 89 pounds to get to my optimal BMI weight of 130 pounds, or so they tell me. Today, I’m headed back to the pool and I’m taking my thighgina with me. I hope he enjoys it

Have you ever lost or gained a significant amount of weight? How did you mentally and physically adjust to all the changes your body went through?

What are your tips for how to avoid loose skin when you lose weight fast?

0 comment
0 FacebookTwitterPinterestLinkedinStumbleuponEmail

This website uses cookies to improve your experience. We'll assume you're ok with this, but you can opt-out if you wish. Accept Read More